The Spirit Today

Posted by Jerry White on Oct 29, 2012

“As Jesus was filled and equipped by the Spirit, so those who belong to Jesus are filled and equipped by the Spirit (Acts 2:4), or at least potentially so (Eph. 5:18). Just as it was true that this filling of Jesus enabled him to be and do the extraordinary, so it is true of those who believe in him. The Acts of the Apostles (or ‘of the Holy Spirit’), to say the very least, was intended to show something of the nature of those things that God is able to do through people who yield themselves willingly to the influence of the Spirit. Through the Spirit those people of the very early church were enabled to preach boldly, convincingly, and authoritatively (Acts 2:14-41), to face crises and surmount obstacles with a courage and resoluteness and power they never dreamed they had (4:29-31), to cheerfully face persecution and suffering, and even to accept death with a prayer of forgiveness (5:40-41; 7:55-60), to heal the sick and raise the dead (9:36-41; 28:8), to arbitrate differences and bring about peace (15:1-35), to know where to go and where not to go, what to do and what not to do (16:6-10; 21:10-11), and so on. There is no reason whatsoever to believe that what was true of those earliest Christians is any less true of Christians in this century. Surely contemporary crises are no less great, the pains of the world are no less meliorated, the challenges to one’s strength, wisdom, patience, and love are no less demanding of resources beyond human resources than they were in the first century, and followers of Jesus today are no more sufficient for all these in and of themselves than were his followers yesterday. Furthermore, God’s program of enabling people to burst the bounds of their human limitations and achieve the impossible is still in place and still effective—that program that involves filling people with his Spirit, filling them with supernatural power.

In the spiritual as in the natural world there is a law which teaches that the same cause will, under the same conditions, produce the same consequence. Hence, under the same conditions of surrender and dependence as in which our Lord lived His earthly life, the same cause—the Eternal Spirit—will produce the same consequence, and our lives can thus be like His life (in kind though not in degree), in the reality and beauty of holiness.”

Gerald F. Hawthorne (Professor of Greek and New Testament Exegesis at Wheaton College, Wheaton, Illinois)

The Presence & The Power, 238-239 (1991)




Posted in Holy Spirit

Co-intercessor With Christ

Posted by Jerry White on Oct 24, 2012

“Remain here, and watch with me.”

Matthew 26:38 (ESV)

“There is no more Christlike role than to be a co-intercessor with Christ for the priorities upon His heart. In no other way can a Christian be a greater strength and blessing to Christ’s church. In no other way can you do more to advance Christ’s kingdom and bring glory to the name of Jesus. Prevailing intercession is your supreme service while on earth.

Prevailing prayer is glorious because it unites you with the heartbeat of Christ. It is glorious because in prevailing prayer you share the vision of Christ, the purpose and holy determination of Christ, and often the costly soul agony and burden of Christ. Prevailing intercession is the most Christly of all labors as well as the most Spirit-controlled. The Spirit shares with you Christ’s passion until you are convulsed by the same heart-cry as the Son and the same groanings as the Spirit (Rom. 8:26).

It is glory to weep with Christ, love with Christ, and burn with the passionate longing of Christ. It is glory to share with Christ in intercessory battle and triumph. Sometimes you begin to sense the power and joy of the coming age (Heb. 6:5) as your prevailing breaks through to victory. Glory begins as you feel the Spirit’s assurance that your prayer has been heard and answered. The visible results are not always immediately evident, but you know you have prevailed according to the will of God, and you know God’s answer is sure….

Lord, teach us the privilege, the responsibility, and the glory of prevailing prayer!”

Wesley L. Duewel

Mighty Prevailing Prayer, 27-28

~~~

So much praying by Christians is for their own needs and the needs of those near them. We should indeed pray about these needs, but in the model prayer taught by Jesus (Matthew 6:9-13) the first concerns prayed about is the Father’s desire for His Name to be honored, His kingdom to come, and His will to be done on earth. Only after that does Jesus include prayer for personal needs. Make the Father’s desires your first desire in prayer. This will liberate your praying—and bless your Heavenly Father.




Posted in Prayer

Pray For Protection

Posted by Jerry White on Oct 22, 2012

Lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil.

Matthew 6:13 (ESV)

~~~

“He who takes the flock beside still waters and through green pastures into the paths of righteousness may also direct them to the valley of deep darkness and temptation. It is this possibility which is to shape the prayer we make for protection and deliverance. No doubt Christ’s own experience lay at the back of his mind as he taught the disciples these words, for only recently he had been ‘led by the Spirit into the desert to be tempted by the devil’ (Matt. 4:1). God did not tempt him, nor solicit him to sin, but the Scripture makes plain that God was involved, by the Spirit, in leading Christ into temptation. We must therefore agree with the principle laid down by John Owen when he wrote: ‘It is true that God tempts none, as temptation formally leads unto sin; but he orders temptations.’

What is involved in being led into temptation? Again the example of Christ’s life teaches us that it means more than ordinary temptation, for his whole life is described as the time of his temptations (Luke 22:28). There is something distinctive about being led into temptation.

We are led into temptation and enter into it (Matt. 26:41) when the three chief avenues of temptation are opened concurrently and pressure is exerted on the soul through their combined force. Thus a man may be tempted when he is lured and enticed by the flesh (Jas. 1:14); but when these desires are further stimulated by the world and aggravated by the work of the devil then he has entered into temptation. Being led into temptation therefore means the concentration and persistence of enticement to sin….

The very nature of being led into temptation should be sufficient encouragement to us to pray for protection and deliverance. But how unconscious Christians can be of their own weakness and of the tempter’s power!”

Sinclair B. Ferguson

Taking the Christian Life Seriously, 88-89

~~~

Could it be that some Christians are defeated because they do not believe Christ’s Word and pray regularly for the Father’s protection and deliverance from the evil one?




Posted in Prayer

A Joyful Privilege

Posted by Jerry White on Oct 17, 2012

These things I have spoken to you, that my joy may be in you, and that your joy may be full.

John 15:11 (ESV)

~~~

“We might well imagine that no place on earth would be so attractive to the child of God as the prayer room, where the presence of God is promised and unhindered fellowship with the Father awaits. Think about the happiness of a child on earth who enjoys the love of his father, the gratefulness of a friend who meets a beloved benefactor, or the thrill of a subject who has free access to his king and may stay with him as long as he wishes. All these joyful privileges are nothing compared with this heavenly promise. In your prayer room you can converse with God as long as you desire. You can rely on His presence and fellowship there.

Do you see the wonderful love of God in the gift of a prayer room sanctified by such a promise? Let us thank God every day of our lives for the gift of His wonderful love. In this sinful world, He could devise nothing more suitable for our needs than this fountain of unspeakable blessing.

…Perhaps we also imagine that every child of God takes advantage of such an invitation with joy. But what is the response? From everywhere the conclusion is reached that private, personal prayer is as a general rule neglected by those who call themselves believers. Many make no use of the privilege; they go to church, they confess Christ, but they know little of personal fellowship with God. Many do pray, but in a spirit of haste, and more as a matter of custom or for the easing of conscience. They cannot really testify to any joy of blessing from it. What is worse, the many who know something of prayer’s blessedness, confess that they know little about faithful, regular fellowship with the Father throughout the day as something that is as necessary as their daily bread.”

Andrew Murray

Living a Prayerful Life, 126-127




Posted in Prayer

Obey And Pray

Posted by Jerry White on Oct 15, 2012

Then he [Jesus] said to them, “My soul is very sorrowful, even to death; remain here, and watch with me.”

And he came to the disciples and found them sleeping. And he said to Peter, “So, could you not watch with me one hour?”

Matthew 26:38, 40 (ESV)

~~~

“…It is indispensable that we should be prepared to receive and obey all that we see to be according to the Word and will of God. Where this disposition to receive and obey is lacking, knowledge only serves to make the heart less capable of receiving a fuller life. Satan endeavors to become the master of the Christian’s prayer time. This is because he knows that the testimony of the one who has been unfaithful in prayer will cause little damage to his kingdom. Spiritual power to lead the lost to the Lord, or to build up the children of God, simply will not flow from a prayerless life. This power comes only through persevering prayer.

The great question is: Shall we earnestly set ourselves to win back again the weapon of believing prayer that Satan has, at least in a measure, taken away from us? Let us set before ourselves the serious importance of this conflict. As far as each minister is concerned, everything depends on whether or not he is a man of prayer—one who in the inner room is clothed each day with power from on high. We, in common with the church throughout the whole world, must acknowledge that prayer does not have the place in our service of God that it ought to have.

The public consecration that many believers have made at conferences, crusades, and other meetings, is not an easy thing. And even when the step is taken, old habits and the power of the flesh will tend to nullify it. The power of faith is not yet alive and well. It will cost us great effort and great sacrifice to conquer the devil in this area in the name of Christ. Our churches are the battlefields in which Satan will muster all his power to prevent us from becoming people of prayer. So much depends on this for our congregations, God’s kingdom, and for us as individuals.”

Andrew Murray

Living A Prayerful Life, 157-158




Posted in Prayer

Prayerlessness

Posted by Jerry White on Oct 11, 2012

You do not have, because you do not ask.

James 4:2

~~~

“The regret of prayerlessness begins in this life when we suddenly need to prevail in prayer and then realize how far we have drifted, how casual our relation to Him is, and how weak our prayerlessness has left us. When we suddenly need strong faith, our faith proves feeble and wavering because we have exercised it so little. God in His mercy may still hear us, but our hearts feel guilty for so neglecting Him and disobeying Him in our prayer life.

We need to ask His forgiveness instantly. Remember, forgiveness can be received in a moment if we truly repent and take steps now to do God’s will. But power in prayer is not restored in a moment. Normally, it is the result of faithfulness in a life of prayer.

God keeps a record not only of our thoughts and words but also of our prayers. Ravenhill writes, ‘I believe most of us will need the tears wiped from our eyes when the books are opened at the judgment bar of God, and our personal record is read’ (Revival Praying).

When you and I stand with Christ in eternity, perhaps the most amazing feature of our lives as we look back will be our prayerlessness. ‘If there are any regrets in heaven, the greatest will be that we spent so little time in real intercession’ (An Unknown Christian, The Kneeling Christian).

If, as Andrew Murray taught, Christ intended prayer to be the great power by which His church would do its work, then certainly the neglect of prayer by the church is the greatest reason for its powerlessness. He added, ‘Satan will bring forth all his power to prevent us from becoming men of prayer.’ How disappointed God is with the spiritual life of pastor and people when they are weak in prevailing prayer and the prayer of faith. God has given us no greater means of bringing down His blessing and power upon our lives and work.

There is probably no single sin that you and I ought to acknowledge with deeper shame than the sin of prayerlessness.”

Wesley L. Duewel

Mighty Prevailing Prayer, 33-34




Posted in Prayer

Your Prayer LIfe

Posted by Jerry White on Oct 8, 2012

“I start with the truism that each Christian’s prayer life, like every good marriage, has in it common factors about which one can generalize and also uniquenesses which no other Christian’s prayer life will quite match. You are you, and I am I, and we must each find our own way with God, and there is no recipe for prayer that can work for us like a handyman’s do-it-yourself manual or a cookery book, where the claim is that if you follow the instructions you can’t go wrong. Praying is not like carpentry or cookery; it is the active exercise of a personal relationship, a kind of friendship, with the living God and his Son Jesus Christ, and the way it goes is more under divine control than under ours. Books on praying, like marriage manuals, are not to be treated with slavish superstition, as if perfection of technique is the answer to all difficulties; their purpose, rather, is to suggest things to try. But as in other close relationships, so in prayer: you have to find out by trial and error what is right for you, and you learn to pray by praying. Some of us talk more, others less; some are constantly vocal, others cultivate silence before God as their way of adoration; some slip into glossolalia, others make a point of not slipping into it; yet we may all be praying as God means us to do. The only rules are, stay within biblical guidelines and within those guidelines, as John Chapman puts it, ‘pray as you can and don’t try to pray as you can’t.’”

J. I. Packer

Quoted by D. A. Carson

A Call To Spiritual Reformation, 37-38

~~~

“Lord, teach us to pray” (Luke 11:1) is a prayer request according to the will of God, and if we ask anything according to His will we know that we have what we ask for (1 John 5:14-15). Asking our Father, plus setting time aside to pray, allows Him to answer our request and teach us how to pray according to our unique personality and individual temperament. The issue is making time in our schedule to get alone with our Father so we can spend unhurried time with Him in communion. We learn to pray as we actually pray, and this requires making right choices. It won’t happen without discipline.




Posted in Prayer

Commune With The Spirit

Posted by Jerry White on Oct 4, 2012

“No believer can have a dynamic Christian life in holiness and power, unless he knows the Holy Spirit in an intimate way. The Lord Jesus, in introducing the Spirit to His disciples, said ‘Ye know Him; for He dwelleth with you and shall be in you’ (John 14:17). Just as it is possible for an unbeliever to know all about the Lord Jesus and yet not know Him personally as Lord and Saviour, so it is possible for you as a believer to know all about the Holy Spirit and yet not know Him as Companion and Friend. Paul prayed fervently in his apostolic benediction, ‘The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God, and the communion of the Holy Ghost be with you all. Amen’ (II Cor. 13:14). All such benedictions were originally supplications. This verse is really a personal prayer: ‘Oh Father, let Thy love be manifested; Oh Lord Jesus, let Thy grace be with us; Oh Holy Spirit, let Thy saints enjoy much of Thy communion.’

The Spirit of God loves us. He manifested His love to us in bearing our insults, as we rejected His strivings and pleadings to come to Christ (Hebrews 10:29- ‘Despite’ – insult). Would it not be strange indeed if one of the Persons of the godhead, Who lives, comforts and helps us to live the Christian life, should hold Himself aloof from sweet intercourse with the believer whom He indwells? He longs to commune with us; it is we who hinder the communion.

We can go to Him in every time of need. We can ask Him to help us to understand the Scriptures. We can ask Him to anoint us with fresh oil. We can ask Him to comfort us. We can ask Him to take of the treasures of Christ and reveal them unto us. We can ask Him to make Christ real to us. We can ask Him to reveal to us the mission field He has chosen for us. We can ask Him for guidance concerning every problem in our family life. We can ask Him to lead us to the person of His choice for marriage. We can ask Him how much money He wants us to give for a definite missionary cause. Even when we are at ‘wits-end corner’ and the very bottom, as it were, seems to have suddenly fallen out of our lives, we can still ask Him to plan our future for us.”

James A. Stewart

Heaven’s Throne Gift, 57-58




Posted in Holy Spirit

Sentenced To Death

Posted by Jerry White on Oct 1, 2012

And he called to him the crowd with his disciples and said to them, “If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me.”

Mark 8:34

~~~

“When the Lord told His disciples that they must take up the cross and follow Him, from their frame of reference, they could hardly have understood His meaning. But He wanted to stir up their thinking, and so prepare them for the time when they would see Him carrying His cross. From the Jordan forward, where He had presented himself to be baptized and counted among sinners, He carried the cross in His heart. That is to say, He was always conscious that the sentence of death, because of sin, rested upon Him, and that He must bear it to completion. As the disciples thought about this, and wondered what He meant, only one thing helped them to grasp it: In their day, carrying a cross was the language of a man who had been sentenced to death and must carry his cross to the appointed place.

About the same time, Christ had said, ‘Whoever finds his life will lose it, and whoever loses his life for my sake will find it’ (Matthew 10:39). He taught them that they must despise their present life when compared to their life in Christ. Their nature was so sinful that nothing less than death could deliver them. Gradually the conviction dawned on them that the taking up of the cross meant: ‘I am to feel that my life is under sentence of death, and that under the consciousness of this sentence, I must constantly surrender my flesh and my sinful nature, even unto death.’

So in a small sense they were prepared to see that the cross that Christ carried represented the power to deliver them from sin, and that they must first receive from Him the true spirit of the cross. From Him they would learn what self-humiliation in their weakness and unworthiness was to mean, what the obedience was that crucified their own will in all things, in the greatest as well as in the least; what the self-denial was that did not seek to please the flesh or the world.”

Andrew Murray

Living a Prayerful Life, 138-139




Posted in Total Surrender